Efforts to end fuel poverty and energy waste by making the UK’s draughty homes more efficient have collapsed by almost 85%, according to new government data.
The report, published on Thursday, shows that the number of energy efficiency upgrades undertaken each month has fallen to 10,000 on average for the six months to the end of May. This compares with an average of 65,000 a month in 2014.
The latest figures show that in May about 10,000 properties benefited from energy efficiency measures, such as loft insulation or boiler upgrades, down sharply from about 30,000 in the same month in 2015 and 2016. At this rate it would take 96 years for the government to reach its own targets to reduce fuel poverty, according to the charity National Energy Action.
A select committee report found that public investment in energy efficiency has shrunk in recent years, even though it is the cheapest way to cut carbon emissions. It said the government risks undermining its own climate targets unless it treats energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority. The report blamed a lack of public spending for the falling number of home insulation installations, which have plummeted by 95% from 2012.
Energy efficiency is “not only crucial for tackling climate change but are vital for lowering customers’ energy bills and lifting people out of fuel poverty”, Rachel Reeves, the chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee, said.
Households in England have been hardest hit since the former prime minister David Cameron reportedly told aides in 2013 to “get rid of all the green crap” levied on energy bills.
Ed Matthew, from climate-crisis thinktank E3G, said, “The UK has no hope of reaching net-zero emissions unless the government, including the Treasury, makes energy efficiency an infrastructure investment priority.”